The Scarlet Honeyeater is one of the most strikingly coloured of all the Australian honeyeater family. The birds utilize their red plumage as camouflage as their preferred diet comes from the long flowering Callistemon group, most of which are red in colour and so affording the birds an adequate veil to escape sharp-eyed predators. Highly nomadic, these small birds feed in the treetops when no red flowers are available to them, choosing densely foliaged eucalypts and rarely entering rainforest.
As predominantly nectar feeders they most likely play an important role in pollination of our Grevilleas, Callistemons and other shrub-like families, many of which have become common garden plants.
The call is a single ‘chip’ often repeated over and over and usually given during feeding.
Look for these beautiful birds in gardens or amongst street trees where red flowers are prominent.
Good luck and good birding
Adrian Walker aka Professor Birdbrain
Adrian’s book – Birds of Mission Beach and environs is available through the Mission Beach Visitor Centre at $7.00 plus postage. To purchase call on 07 4068 7099 or email firstname.lastname@example.org